#18 – Great Expectations another from the 2015 album “XIV. This one showed off the Prog side of Toto that’s been there from the beginning. Keyboardist Steve Porcaro once said, “I’m the keyboard nerd, so I’ve often felt we should do our version of Tales From Topographic Oceans,” by Yes. Let’s remember the Prog vibe on ‘Child’s Anthem – the first song on the first album and the title tune to Hydra, their second album, from 1979. Though, ‘Dave’s Gone Skiing, was more fusion that Prog it still fits the bill and ‘Better World’ from ‘Mindfields’ was right in that pocket. One could argue that every Toto project has a nod to Prog. ‘Great Expectations’ was one of the strongest tunes on XIV, an album with no weak links which says a lot about it. It’s like Toto have figured that tag-team vocals is golden to their fans. Paich starts this one, passes it to Williams and Lukather chimes in. It’s classic Toto.
#17 – ‘Till the End’ from the 1986 “Fahrenheit” album. Have we talked about Toto fans love affair with Joseph Williams? One of four singles from the first album to feature Williams as lead singer of Toto. He replaced Fergie Frederiksen, who died by the way, from cancer on January 18, 2014. This was the third phase of the band and this time they hired a singer who sounded more like Toto than they did. Williams is the son of famous film composer John Williams and it’s like he was born to sing for this band.
#16 – Bottom of Your Soul another one from Williams, sort of. It’s from 2006 album “Falling in Between’ album – the last studio project to featuring Bobby Kimball as lead vocalist but this song was a taste of things to come with Williams singing the chorus and Lukather on the verses. It got fans excited. Another great addition was Greg Phillinganes on piano and vocals on the album. He was a touring replacement for Paich, who wrote the lyrics for this tune but more importantly Greg’s addition as an official member was a reminder of ‘Thriller.’ He was the musical director for Michael Jackson and was, like Lukather, David Paich and Jeff and Steve Porcaro all over Michael monumental project.
#15 – ‘White Sister’ from the 1979 and the first of three songs in the Top 25 from the Hydra album. So did #2 suffer the sophomore jinx? Not too much. It certainly wasn’t the same as the debut, as mentioned things got more experimental and even proggy but not on ‘White Sister’ – a straight ahead rocker that still popular in concert and, well it sits comfortable in the TOP 25. Written by David Paich and Bobby Kimball it’s testament to Bobby’s amazing pure power back in the late 70’s. Steve Lukather’s knack for coming up with distinctive tasty guitar riffs drives the Rock and Roll on this track while Paich does the crafting. He told GoldMineMag.com, “I’d been influence by Elton John on the “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” album and just anybody that was playing piano.” There’s little Elton on this one.
#14 – ‘Running Out of Time’ from the 2015 “XIV” album. Arguable the best tunes on the album and one of the most kick ass songs in Toto history. How does Lukather come up with all these inventive riffs. The guitarist co-wrote the tune with Paich and Williams. It features drummer #3 Keith Carlock, after Jeff Porcaro and his successor Simon Phillips who was on the throne 1992–2014. Carlock who has worked with Steely Dan, James Taylor, John Mayer and Sting, is a groove drummer like Porcaro. Get it in the pocket. Again lets remember out of 169 Toto tunes this one released 27 years after their debut hits #14 in fan voting. It kind of insinuated unlike many classic rock bands who either don’t record new music or release watered down glimpses of previous greatness Toto is still on top of their game. Do they have something to prove? Maybe and it’s working.
#13 – ’99’ from Hydra. Written by David Paich it was another reminder of his huge role in the band as a songwriter. He wrote 8 of the 10 tunes on the debut, wrote 4 and co-wrote 4 on this album album, wrote or co-wrote 6 of the 8 ‘Turn Back’ songs and on Toto IV? He had his hand in 7 out of 10 tunes. Lukather sings this melancholy gorgeous piece which some sports fans thought was about one of two major sports figure to debut in 1979 the same year it was released – both wearing the #99. Hockey great Wayne Gretzky and controversial NFL defensive lineman Mark Gastineau. Paich says the tune
is inspired by the 1971 movie THX-1138, which was the first full-length film directed by George Lucas of Star Wars fame. Adding, “This movie is set in the 25th-century in a totalitarian state where mankind is stripped of any individuality. People are numbered drones, and a government-enforced program of sedation controls the populace. Lucas used THX as the name for his movie theater sound system.”
#12 – ‘Home of the Brave’ the last tune from 1988’s ‘The Seventh One.’ I was 28, been in radio for 5 years and kicking tires on actually working on being a music journalist. I’d syndicated radio shows across the country but nothing moved me to write more than this album. The Seventh One was everything I loved about Toto and a few things I hadn’t been able to put my finger on. I didn’t now what I was looking for in new music but I knew I would know it when I found it. “The Seventh One” has become one of my all time favorite albums. I loved it so much I felt like I was cheating on Toto I and IV. This was the first album that featured tag-team vocals. We had heard it from Lukather and Cheryl Lynn on ‘Georgy Porgy’ and Paich and Kimball on ‘St. George and the Dragon.’ ‘Goodbye Elenore,’ and ‘Africa.’ We really heard it with Lukather and Kimball on “Rosanna.’ Fergie Frederiksen and Paich tag-teamed on ‘Carmen.’ The team up on ‘Home of the Brave’ Williams and Paich and this was not a hit but it certainly is with fans.
#11 – ‘I’ll Supply the Love’ the debut album which has gone two times platinum in the U.S. Alone it’s their biggest selling in North American after Toto IV. This was the second single of four singles from the LP, the other three were ‘Hold the Line.’ ‘Georgy Porgy’ and ‘Rockmaker’ that was just released in the Netherlands. This is Pop with a side of Rock. Beside Kimball’s power-house vocals and Jeff Poraro’s stunning tight drumming on this one it’s easy to hear another contributor who was sometimes overlooked in Toto, Steve Porcaro. Who could forget his gorgeous ‘Takin’ It Back” on the debut album and Toto IV’s “It’s a Feeling,’ two songs he wrote and sung. His synths touches has always given the band an extra layer and added bonus. Steve also co-wrote and plays on “Human Nature” from Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller.’ Remember Steve has just released his debut album “Someday/Somehow.”
#10 – Georgy Porgy and the same album and another single from 1978. Lukather’s sings the lead in a with a Boz Scaggs vibe. The band came upon that sound honestly from way back to September 1975 when Scaggs started recording his iconic ‘Silk Degrees’ with three dudes who would eventually be an integral part of Toto, bassist David Hungate, Jeff Porcaro was the drummer and keyboards David Paich who also co-wrote five of the tracks on the project including the two huge singles “Lowdown” and “Lido Shuffle.” This was such a bridge to creating Toto that even daddy Porcaro Joe played percussion on ‘What Can I Say.’ R&B singer Cheryl Lynn did the famous chorus. Interestingly David Paich was working on her album around the same time Toto 1 was being made. In fact along with Cheryl and David Foster he co-wrote her big hit ‘Got To Be Real.’ It was actually produced by David and his father Marty Paich who was a famous pianist, composer, arranger, conductor who had worked with the big ones Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Tormé, Ray Charles among others.
#9 – Hydra from the 1979 album of the same name. Considering Toto opened their last album, which was their first, with a proggy little ditty, it seemed fitting that they would take that formula and run with it as an opener. This one was more defined and a vocal phrasing was amazing. “Pray upon by the wolves in Times Square, Feel into an abyss of thin air”“There lies a lady, Naked and yet not knowing it.” Had me wondering how transparent one could be without realizing. The tune ‘Hydra’ was a goosebumps experience for many of those Toto fans who always craved more from their radio.
It’s a mouthful and being a self conscious 19 year old at the time. The Line
Lukather acknowledged that the band was trying something different on Hydra and rushed as an album and thought it didn’t sell as well as the debut but here’s the thing some critics said it didn’t have the ‘magic’ as the first one when they were the same critics who criticized that first album.
WATCH PART ONE HERE https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjHRDMnDnrY
John Beaudin has been in major market radio (Edmonton, Vancouver & Calgary) for 33 years and a music journalist since 1989. He graduated from Broadcasting school as a news man so he would have the skills to write about the artists that inspired him since he bought his first album, “Madman Across The Water” by Elton John as a teen. In the 80’s Beaudin was the host of the syndicated radio show “The Cross Canada Report” which had two version (Rock and A/C). Beaudin was also asked to be a judge at the Juno Awards (Canada’s answer to the Grammys) Twice. He has anchored every position in radio including morning and afternoon drive and was a Program and Music Director for The Breeze and California 103 in Calgary. He currently hosts the popular Lovesongs at QM-FM in Vancouver.
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